Category Archives: crisis

Divergent Political Models in the Two “Forms” of the Roman Rite

…a delicious morsel found by Allan Gillis while perusing the New Liturgical Movement blogsite!

Isn’t it wonderful to find an article that so profoundly communicates exactly what one feels and has hitherto never been able to articulate?!

Divergent Political Models in the Two “Forms” of the Roman Rite

Peter Kwasniewski

 

A reviewer of my book Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness (Angelico, 2017) made a point that got me thinking. He said that while he agreed with my critique of the Novus Ordo and himself preferred the traditional rite, he thought I should have wrestled more with the fact that there are flourishing religious congregations exclusively reliant on the Novus Ordo. He cited the Missionaries of Charity and the Nashville Dominicans as examples. Clearly, these communities are full of fervent disciples of the Lord who are nourished from the liturgy of Paul VI, so it cannot be the case that this liturgy is “all bad,” so to speak.

Now, apart from the fact that I have never argued and never would argue that the Novus Ordo is “all bad” (something that would be metaphysically impossible, in any case), I welcome this observation as an opportunity to think more closely about how exactly this phenomenon may be explained.

Such religious communities are bringing to the liturgy a spiritual disposition that enables them to benefit from the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist — a disposition they are not necessarily developing from the liturgy as such. The Novus Ordo can be fruitful for those who already have a fervent and well-ordered interior life, built up by other means; but for those who do not, it will offer few pegs on which to climb up. In this respect it is unlike the traditional liturgy, which has within itself enormous resources for enkindling and expanding the interior life.

One might make a political comparison to elucidate this point. The basic philosophical problem with the American regime is not that a good use cannot be made of its political institutions, but that they presuppose a virtuous citizenry in order to work at all. Time and time again, the American Founding Fathers say things like: “As long as the people are virtuous, they can govern themselves with these mechanisms.” But the aims of government do not include producing a virtuous citizenry; this is seen as above and beyond the government’s limited scope. Government is supposed to act like a police officer who regulates the flow of traffic; it is assumed that people know how to drive and basically drive well.

The traditional view, as we find it for instance in Pope Leo XIII’s social encyclicals, is that government has a God-given responsibility for the moral and spiritual welfare of the people, and must lead them to the observance of the natural law and dispose them as well as possible to the observance of the divine law. In this model, the government is more like a parent, teacher, and counselor who knows what the human good is and actively fosters the attainment of it by as many citizens as possible. This is why, for Leo XIII, a good government will necessarily involve the Catholic Church in educating the citizens of the regime, so that they may have the best possibility of developing virtues. Virtue does not develop spontaneously or accidentally.

The liturgical parallel is not hard to see. The Novus Ordo is like the American government. It is an orderly structure or framework within which free activity can take place, but it does not specify or dictate in a rigorous way how that activity ought to be pursued. It is like the benign and neutral policeman — a certain precondition for peace, but not the representative and spokesman of peace. The minimal rubrics function like boundaries on a sports field. The people who attend are assumed to know how to pray, how to “participate actively” (as if this is at all evident!), and how to be holy. They come to display and demonstrate what is already within them.

The traditional liturgy, in contrast, forthrightly adopts the attitude of parent, teacher, and counselor. It assumes that you are in a dependent position and must be shaped in your spirituality, molded in your thoughts, educated in your piety. Its rubrics are numerous and detailed. The liturgy knows exactly what you need in terms of silence, chant, prayers, antiphons, and it delivers them authoritatively, in a way that emphasizes the liturgy’s own perfection and your receptivity. The traditional liturgy establishes a standard of virtue and makes the worshiper conform to it. It does not presuppose that you are virtuous.

This helps to explain the intentionally Protean adaptability of the modern liturgical rites, in their optionitis and spectrum of artes celebrandi. Moderns don’t really think there can be a fixed and virtuous liturgy that should form them into its image. As heirs of the Enlightenment that enthroned human reason as king and assumed a supposedly rational control over all aspects of society, moderns feel they need to be in some way in charge of the liturgy. It has to have options to accommodate us in our pluralism.

In this way the Novus Ordo betrays its provenance in a democratic and relativistic age, in stark contrast with the traditional liturgy that was born and developed entirely in monarchical and aristocratic eras (and this, of course, by Divine Providence, since God knew best what human beings needed, and ensured that the rites would embody it). Even if one wished to say, for the sake of argument, that secular society is better off democratized — a claim that would seem counterintuitive, to say the least, especially if one could canvas the opinions of the countless millions of victims of abortion murdered under the free regimes of the Western world — one must nevertheless maintain as a matter of principle that the divine liturgy, being from and for the King of kings and Lord of lords, cannot be democratized without ceasing to exist. It must remain monarchical and aristocratic in order to remain divine liturgy, as opposed to a self-derived human patriotism.

If you are that fortunate person who has a robustly developed life of faith, whether from a Protestant upbringing prior to your conversion, or frequent attendance at adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, or a constant and childlike Marian devotion, you bring all of this fullness with you when you attend the Novus Ordo, and you fill the relative emptiness of the liturgical form with that fullness. In this case, your fullness (so to speak) meets Christ’s fullness in the Eucharist, and there is a meeting of minds and a marriage of souls. This, it seems to me, could be what is happening with those aforementioned religious communities that are flourishing in spite of the defects of the Novus Ordo as a lex orandi, in its anthropological assumptions, theological content, and aesthetic form.

With the traditional Mass, it is different. It produces an awareness of the interior life that is the first step to a more profound interior conversion. It contains ample Eucharistic adoration within it, and so, it feeds this hunger of the soul and intensifies it to the point that it overflows beyond the confines of the liturgy. Its spirituality is Marian through and through, so it tends to lead souls to Our Lady, who is waiting for them there. In every way, this Mass is actively calling into being a mind for worship and a heart for prayer; it carves out a space in the soul to fill it full of Christ. It does not presuppose that you are at that point, but pulls and draws you there, due to its confident possession of the truth about God and man. It is not leaning on you to supply it with force or relevance; it is not waiting for you to be the active party. It is inherently full and ready to act upon you, to supply you with your meaning. And paradoxically, it does all this through not being focused on you, your problems, your potentialities. It works because it is so resolutely and bafflingly focused on the Lord.

There is an irony here, inasmuch as the didacticism of the Novus Ordo seems to be aimed at explaining and eliciting certain acts of religion, while the usus antiquior seems to take for granted that one knows what to do. But in reality, the new rite’s didacticism interferes with the free exercise of these acts of religion, and the usus antiquior‘s “indifference” to the attendees more subtly challenges them to build new interior habits proportioned to the earnestness and intensity of the liturgical action. By attempting to provide for the worshiper everything he “needs,” the modern rite fails to provide the one thing needful: an unmistakeable sense of encounter with the ineffable mystery of God, whom no words of ours can encompass, whom no actions of ours can domesticate. The usus antiquior knows better, and therefore strives to do both less and more — less, by not leading children by the apron strings of a school teacher; more, in terms of calling into being new ascetical-mystical capacities that depend radically on a fixed and dense “regimen” of prayer, chant, and bodily gestures. “I have run the way of thy commandments, when thou didst enlarge my heart” (Ps 118:32). In this domain, the old rite shows us that (if we may paraphrase a contemporary author) space is greater than time. Having a capacious and symbolically dense space within which to “play” is of greater benefit, in the long run, than spending an hour doing verbal exercises in the confines of a modern classroom.

These differences, which play out in ways both subtle and obvious, cannot fail to have an impact on priestly and religious vocations and on the manner in which various communities understand their relationship to worship and contemplation.

I’m scared shit!

The ideological “Left” was utterly brilliant in its conquest of educational institutions in Europe and these United States.  I give you here the future of America…

They can’t even utter a rational statement about the most obvious…    You can see them shutting their minds down (almost uncomfortably) in order to spurt out the “correct-speech”!

I’m truly frightened!

Allan Gillis thanks the Family Policy Institute of Washington

I’m baaaaack!

Just when you thought this blog was safe from the politically-incorrect incivility and bravado that characterized my blog entries and made you wince these past few years… I return!

I return as sick as ever about this culture.  How difficult it is to live life as a guy trying to take his Roman Catholicism seriously!  I’m attacked from both inside and outside the institution’s franchise that I live to support and help widen!  The Church’s leader and his like-minded apostatized henchmen, (or most are nearly-apostatized!) these “princes of the Church” call me and my fellow sojourners names, they ridicule us and thwart our efforts to live and worship in the true fashion concomitant with our ancient and blessed patrimony.  Sickening.

While I was engaged and otherwise distracted from this blog  –  as life often takes turns which can sometimes delay us from tasks, goals, and accomplishments – this culture seemed to vomit all over itself with this huge sex-scandal miasma.  Sickening.

Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Al Franken, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor etcetera, etcetera.  Hmmm…  a very interesting thought just spawned here…how many of these guys are media-pig liberal Jews?    Ooops!    NOT supposed to say stuff like that Allan!  My bad!  (I just rapped myself on the wrist)

Media-pigs are those who feed at the filthy profit-trough of TV, film , radio and/or printed media where the shit-strewn jetsam is spun and fed out to the masses…to the poor souls who consume it and suffer all sorts of spiritual malady in their ignorance and hunger for “community” and relevance.  Liberal Jews, (as opposed to “Jews”) as I use the term here refers to the sometimes ethnic/sometimes ideological group that nearly always seems to be either planting or cultivating or distributing what they deign as progressivism in sexual morals, wrought from a specific political receptivity to smash all vestiges of real Roman Catholic morality and governance.  I cite a bit of anecdotal history here – wherein it seems to me that the Jews hurriedly put together Hollywood in the 1920’s and found huge success selling everything from an insidious politically-leftist/progressivism to downright smut – both on the screen and print  –  and rock music that shook the culture violently from it’s mores from the earliest time of recorded sound where we heard and watched the filthy machinations of Tin Pan Alley and then on up to the most vile genre…Hip-Hop/Gangsta-Rap.   Sickening.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I also blame another “ethnic group” for the disassembly of morals – especially in these United States.  There seemed to be a cabal of Protestant-Yankee “de-constructionists” as it were.  The very same group who first chaffed at the Church of England (after their fathers threw away their salvation by raping and abandoning Holy Mother Church)  to become Methodists and to chaffe there and become Unitarians and then to chaffe further to become some iteration of Congregationalists – believing in everything from transcendentalism to Tarrot-Card reading and rainbow flag homosexualism.         Sickening.

Interestingly…as I ponder further;   both groups are renown for their work-ethic and success in science and the arts.    I also think they unknowingly (and quite adeptly) worked together during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries to bring Roman Catholicism to it’s knees.

As for the poor bastards that have tarnished their careers (actually, since Bill Clinton – one seems to enhance their career with allegations of sexual mis-conduct!) these clowns stand dead and stinking as sad, un-buried skeletons of the human sexual paradigm planned and created by God.   There seemed to be a real mob-mentality going there for a while…we’ll see how this “me too” hash-tag thingy pans out.

Women today in their unconscious embrace of modern feminism don’t realize that men have won exactly what they’ve wanted instinctively…       easy sexual access to the woman.    The culture has rotted away such that the days of courtship and Holy Matrimony are amusement – while easy sex and the hook-up culture spins a horrible web of sadness, confusion, allegations of rape (whether true or not) and abortion on demand.   Women don’t want anymore (or many have confusion on this topic)  the masculine men of old.   These young (seemingly hetero-sexual) guys even talk with a feminine-like lisp and with a higher pitch it seems to me!  I’m serious.   Men primping?   Shame.  Take a look at an old daguerreotype photograph of a typical man in the early/mid 19th century.  He is invariably unkempt.  Not too-too trimmed and primped.   Men ideally where to be fine of character and groomed with honor…not foppery!

Today’s media-driven image of men…     Sickening.

I’ll ramble on again soon.

 

Until then…God Bless You and may Mary pray for us, that we might be worthy of the promises of Christ!

Allan Gillis

 

The church and modernity

By Augustinus

There is a fierce and healthy debate going on in the world church concerning the church’s relationship to “modernity”. Modernity in its current incarnation is known as liberaism. Over at the liberal Catholic Herald, Adrian Vermeule, a highly respected Harvard Law Professor who holds a Chair in constitutional law, argues that liberalism in any form is toxic for the church. See http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2018/01/05/as-secular-liberalism-attacks-the-church-catholics-cant-afford-to-be-nostalgic/

Vermuele also very nicely summarizes some of the positions in the American portion fo the debate. Rusty Reno over at First Things journal argues that liberalism per se is not the problem. It is “creedal liberalism”–i.e. that form of liberalism that arrogantly assumes its own inherent goodness and progressivity etc Similarly the Catholic columnist and blogger over at the New York Times Ross Douthat argues that liberalism per se is not the problem. In fact Douthat looks back to the first half of the 20th century up to the 1950s as an example of how the Church can flourish in a liberal democracy and positively influence the moral tenor of the culture.  Like Douthat and Reno before him the Iranian Catholic blogger over at Commentary Sohrab Ahmari, points to he Reagan, Thatcher, Pope John Paul II years as proof that liberalism and catholicism can co-exist and even work together to defeat totalitarianisms.

Vermuele will have none of this. He points to clear historical trends that liberalism and modernity slowly but inexorably eats away at the Faith by undermining those parts of the Church most eager to appear “modern”, “liberal” and “progressive”.  The greatest intellects, the most forward thinking sectors of the church; those churchmen who are using the latest sientific methods etc…all of these individuals begin to advocate an “updating” of doctrine” and practice. They sincerely believe that the updating will attract all those lost souls who hate and despise the church for its ‘antiquated” and “backward”, and “superstitious” doctrines and practices. All of the apparently enlightened and right thinking churchmen want the ‘updating” and that is why, Vermuele  argues, all of the protestant denominations are closing down and apostatizing. They follow their enlightened leaders down a trajectory that their forebears began in the 19th century…they discard antiquated social doctrines, then creedal doctrines that appear to conflict with non-progressive social doctrines and then the Trinity is discarded and finally unitarianism and atheism is the  end result.

But Vermuele does not see much hope in “traditionalist” catholics either as they too are bitten by the very ideology they denounce the most: Modernism. They see the solution to the modernist crisis in the church as a going back to some mythical time when the Church was not in crisis. But Vermuele rightly points out that there is no going back and the church was never not in crisis.

I do not know what Vermuele’s preferred solution is but his firm rejection of all existing proposed solutions seems unassailable.

 

This is BIG NEWS locally here in Bostoniensis!

From Father Z’s Blog:

D. Worcester – Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary granted canonical status

My friend Fr. Jay Finelli let me know a while ago that Bishop of Worcester has granted canonical status to the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Still River, MA. He has this on his site:

Congratulations to my dear friends, The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Still River, Massachusetts. On 27 October, the Most Rev. Robert J. McManus granted them canonical status as a Public Association of the Faithful.

This is big news!   I want to get to the bottom of what really happened to Father Leonard Feeney.   Chicanery at the highest levels I suspect!   There is something rotten in the city of Brighton! (now Braintree – if ya catch my drift!)

The Catholic Identity Conference in Weirton, WV

By Allan Gillis

What a wonderful experience for an old “rad-trad grump”!   I flew down to Pittsburgh Friday morning, picked up my rental car and drove southwest to the cozy little hamlet of Weirton, West Virginia.  There the folks at The Remnant Newspaper had assembled a great stable of Catholic writers and speakers.  The theme seemed essentially to be a look at Fatima, 100 years later…   in light of the current Church crisis.   Very, very interesting stuff!

I’m not going to write a play-by-play as I know I wouldn’t do justice to many of the speakers.  You can subscribe to (and I encourage you to!) the online recorded talks given. See their website:  www.remnantnewspaper.com

Let me just share briefly my impressions of some people and some ideas of mine as to the experience.

I met Michael Matt and he is a dynamo.   Clearly very passionate about his faith (our faith) and clearly a dedicated and loving dad.  Many of his brood were there in different roles i.e. greeting conferees, audio/visual technical help and various logistical tasks.  The kids in turn seemed to be surrounded by a friendly warren of same-aged kids helping out.  It was real nice seeing the younger folk taking part in this conference!  Let me be emphatic here; there were a good 20% of the attendees under the age of 40 years old!  It wasn’t just us old farts!

I made a point of meeting Chris Ferrara.  Gracious and witty!   Sharp tongue and pen!  A riot of a man.

John Rao …    a towering intellect and quite well-read.

Elizabeth Yore…  wielding a stinging pen and a rather humorous, righteous indignation.

It seems that this group meets yearly. But, it had an aura of “newness” about it.  I did take a random look online at several websites that reported on the same conference of years gone by and the accompanying photos showed far, far fewer people there in the past.  So, take my word for it – this thing is growing exponentially!

It felt so nice to be around a few hundred people that saw the world and the Church in a similar way as I do.  I fight a degree of skepticism as I grow older.  I feel sometimes frightened by the rapidity of decay in the culture.  Our civilization is on fire.  The Devil is waxing bold.  I worry about my children and grandchildren.  What will become of them?  Will they be able to build and hold onto a faith in Jesus Christ?  Will they cleave to truth?  …or slide under the mud of the mundane or slowly rot with the dis-believing soul-dead?  My task is to pray them into Heaven and set an example of holiness, honesty and self-sacrifice.   I found many, many others at this conference that have the exact same sense!  It felt nice.

There was a Extraordinary-Form Mass all three days (2 on Sunday!) just down the road in a BEAUTIFUL old Catholic church!  Delightful!  Bishop Athanasius Schneider celebrated Friday evening’s Mass in Steubenville (10-15 minutes west of Weirton) at St.Peter’s

Here are a few photos from St.Peter’s website in Steubenville (click to enlarge):

the gorgeous altar:

the incredible schola:

I salute the whole team at The Remnant and shall endeavor to wrestle out on my keyboard a few issues that I faced and ideas that I had at the conference.

One thing that really occurs to me is that we traditionalists must be scaring the shit out of some of these unbelieving bishops across Europe and these United States.  As Bishop Schneider said: “thank God for the internet”!  We’re successfully connecting with, communicating with and continually encouraging one another in the faith and ancient traditions of Holy Mother Church.  Modernism be damned!

Ave Maria, Ora Pro Nobis!

 

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Allan Gillis

“Justice and peace”, “community”, “sustainable”, “safety”, “equality”… words loaded with political import these days. How I grimace as I hear or read them. How my skin crawls as I sometimes listen (as a penance) to NPR. Or read something in the NYT – or pretty much anywhere in media these days.  The choice of words is often a statement of ideology…I guess it always has been.  I am so convinced that the Devil is the father of the political Left.  I’m serious.

I came upon this particular months-old story; of which I previously commented and posted upon here in this venue. [ “Birds of a Feather Flock Together” (part 2)  – July 7 2017 ] The cocaine-fueled gay orgy in the Vatican earlier this year. (the one that we just happen to know about – only God knows how often it has and continues to occur!)

The Church IS IN CRISIS!

Yes we know of times in the past – namely during the Renaissance reign of Pope Pius V, that the scourge of homosexuality ran rampant throughout the culture/church/clergy…  but at least then the reigning pontiff took a militant (and public) stance against the wave of sin!  Pope Pius V (who was later canonized) didn’t spout any “girly-man” statements such as “who am I to judge?”!  Pius kicked ass!

Here’s what “ticked me off” this morning as I re-read an older post on Life Site News:

Vatican appointee says gay sex can express Christ’s ‘self-gift’

ROME, May 19, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Pope Francis has appointed radically liberal, pro-homosexual Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe as a consultor for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The Holy Father made the appointment on Saturday, according to Vatican Radio.

Father Radcliffe, an Englishman, author and speaker, was Master of the Dominican order from 1992 to 2001, and is an outspoken proponent of homosexuality.

“We must accompany [gay people] as they discern what this means, letting our images be stretched open,” he said in a 2006 religious education lecture in Los Angeles. “This means watching ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ reading gay novels, living with our gay friends and listening with them as they listen to the Lord.”

In 2005, as the Vatican deliberated the admission of men with homosexual tendencies to study for the priesthood in the wake of the Church sex abuse scandal, Father Radcliffe said that homosexuality should not bar men from the priesthood, and rather, those who oppose it should be banned.

As a contributor to the 2013 Anglican Pilling Report on human sexual ethics Father Radcliffe said of homosexuality:

How does all of this bear on the question of gay sexuality? We cannot begin with the question of whether it is permitted or forbidden! We must ask what it means, and how far it is Eucharistic. Certainly it can be generous, vulnerable, tender, mutual and non-violent. So in many ways, I would think that it can be expressive of Christ’s self-gift. We can also see how it can be expressive of mutual fidelity, a covenantal relationship in which two people bind themselves to each other for ever.

Father Radcliffe often celebrated Mass for the U.K. dissident group Soho Masses Pastoral Council (now renamed the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council).

The priest is also a supporter of the proposal of to allow communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

He currently works as director of the Las Casas Institute of Blackfriars at Oxford University, a social justice center.

Social justice is the focus of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, established in 1967 by Pope Paul VI in response to the Vatican II proposal for establishment of a body of the universal Church that would “stimulate the Catholic Community to foster progress in needy regions and social justice on the international scene.”

Read the rest here:

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vatican-appointee-says-gay-sex-can-express-christs-self-gift

Ave Maria, ora pro nobis !!!

Had enough yet?

The New Oxford Review published this salient piece last month…

A Pontificate of Mercy — or a Merciless Pontificate?

September 2017

For the past four-plus years, faithful Catholics have bent over backwards to give Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt, telling themselves that the Argentine Jesuit means well, that he is a faithful son of the Church, that he — like his immediate predecessors — has an enduring love of Catholicism and Western civilization, even if at times he comes across as ambiguous, contradictory, and intellectually deficient. The NOR, more than most Catholic-oriented journals, has published critical assessments of Francis’s confusing statements, pontifical missteps, muddled theological writings, and misguided initiatives (we have an entire online dossier devoted to this pontificate: http://www.newoxfordreview.org/dossier.jsp?did=dossier-francis). Nevertheless, we have always approached the subject with an eye toward giving Francis the benefit of the doubt. We respect the Petrine ministry and we respect the office, but that presupposes the man elected to that office respects the ministry too. The time has come to offer an unvarnished look at the fruits of this papacy and to suggest that we move beyond giving Francis the so-called benefit of the doubt. Frankly, doubt is no longer an issue. Four-and-a-half years of evidence shows that Francis has fomented division, preached politics over the Gospel, and conducted himself more like a South American strongman than a vicar of Christ.

Leaving aside for now the theological hubbub and ensuing kerfuffle surrounding Francis’s controversial apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (see “Amoris Laetitia: What Is Pope Francis Up To?” by Anthony Giambrone, O.P., June), his accommodation and appeasement of Islam (see “Pope Francis’s Appeasement Plan: Securing a False Peace with Iran” by Timothy D. Lusch, June 2016), his enigmatic comments on shared communion (see “Francis & the Lutherans: Intercommunion Confusion” New Oxford Note, Jan.-Feb. 2016), his serial insults of orthodox Catholics (see “Pope Francis: Put-Down Artist?” New Oxford Note, April 2014), his equivocal statements regarding contraception (see “A Virus, a Crisis” by Monica Migliorino Miller, April 2016), and his willfully vague and confusing comments to reporters at 30,000 feet (see “The Poor Misunderstood Pope?” New Oxford Note, Nov. 2013, and “A Sign of Self-Contradiction,” New Oxford Note, Dec. 2016), let’s simply look at the current state of the Church vis-à-vis Pope Francis and the Bergoglio Vatican.

Longtime Francis watchers will know that, shortly after being elected, the Holy Father gave every indication that, as an outsider, he would “clean house” — ridding the Vatican of bureaucratic excesses, financial scandals, and the horrific sexual immorality among the Roman clergy, late lamented by Pope Benedict XVI. Although Francis has effected some much-needed streamlining of the Holy See’s offices, he has shown himself more intent on removing every last vestige of the St. John Paul II and Benedict eras, up to and including the Church’s commitment to life issues, defense of marriage, and support of believers who suffer persecution.

Add to that, in recent months, Pope Francis has championed Islam as a “religion of peace,” hammered Catholic Poland as a nation of xenophobes, supported the “fake” government-sponsored Catholic church in communist China, floated the idea of ordaining married priests and women deacons, and marginalized conservative prelates who question his pontifical trajectory or uncover inconvenient truths that might cast his ideological allies in an unflattering light.

Let’s look at personnel: Much has been made of the Pope’s ham-fisted treatment of Raymond Cardinal Burke, the U.S.’s premiere canon-law expert. After Burke publicly aired his “conservative” views on divorce and “remarriage” at the 2014 Synod on the Family, Francis summarily removed him as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, where he served as the highest-ranking canon lawyer in the Church, and reassigned (read: demoted) him to the obscure position of patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Earlier this year, Francis removed Burke even from this largely ceremonial post after Burke uncovered the order’s promotion of condom use in Africa. To make a long story short, Pope Francis came down on the side of the condom promoter, Grand Chancellor Albrecht von Boeselager, over the whistleblower, Cardinal Burke. Not to go unnoticed: Burke was one of the four cardinals who signed the dubia asking the Pope to clarify certain passages in Amoris Laetitia, which Francis has refused to do, either publicly or privately.

There’s more: For four years running, Pope Francis has passed up awarding the red hat to either of the longtime leaders of the archdioceses of Los Angeles and Philadelphia, two of the largest sees in the U.S., both of which are traditionally home to cardinals. L.A.’s José Gómez and Philly’s Charles Chaput, appointed to their posts by Pope Benedict, are widely known as faithful, orthodox prelates. Some Vatican watchers have tried to explain this away by citing Francis’s desire for a more diversified College of Cardinals and admitting that — to put it bluntly — the Holy Father doesn’t like Americans.

That might explain why Francis has awarded cardinalates to prelates in obscure sees in far-flung parts of the world that have minuscule Catholic populations (relatively speaking), such as José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán of the diocese of David in Panama, Philippe Ouédraogo of the diocese of Ouahigouya in Burkina Faso, Patrick D’Rozario of the diocese of Dhaka in Bangladesh, Sebastian Koto Khoarai of the diocese of Mohale’s Hoek in Lesotho, and Charles Bo of the diocese of Yangon in Myanmar, to name a few. But that doesn’t explain why Francis, after appointing Blase Cupich as archbishop of Chicago and Joseph Tobin as archbishop of Newark (New Jersey), immediately raised them to the College of Cardinals.

Francis appointed Cupich to his post in September 2014 and named him a cardinal less than two months later, one day after Cupich’s installation as Chicago’s new archbishop. Francis named Tobin a cardinal in November 2016, just 12 days after appointing him archbishop of Newark. For the record, Newark has never been home to a cardinal, perhaps because a cardinal has always lived eight miles away in Manhattan. According to The New York Times, Tobin “is considered a friend and ally of Pope Francis in a potentially important spot in the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the United States not far from New York City, where Cardinal Timothy F. Dolan has been the face of American Catholicism in the nation’s media capital” (Jan. 6). More recently, the Times contrasted him with Dolan, noting that “Cardinal Tobin is emerging as a champion of progressive, center-left Catholics” (July 16).

As for Cupich, not only is he an ardent Francis ally, the hyper-liberal National Catholic Reporter (NCR) said his appointment is symbolic of the Pope’s personal involvement in “reorienting the U.S. hierarchy after 35 years of seriously conservative, dogmatic appointments” (Sept. 25, 2014). Presumably, NCR, and Pope Francis, would lump Gómez and Chaput in the pile of “seriously conservative, dogmatic appointments” — in other words, orthodox in their views of the Church and her teachings. (By the way, it is just silly for NCR to speak of 35 years of conservative appointments, considering the extremely liberal cardinals Roger Mahony of Los Angeles and Joseph Bernardin of Chicago were appointed during that time and became the two primary kingpins in recommending U.S. bishop appointments. That said, after Bernardin died and Mahony retired, the appointments did get more “conservative.”)

Make no mistake: Francis is politically astute. His modus operandi is to marginalize Benedict’s “conservative, dogmatic” picks and promote his own like-minded ideologues. Francis knows that, if nothing else, his appointees to the College of Cardinals will be hand-picking the next pope, and maybe the one after that. Those whom Francis passes over — the Chaputs and Gómezes of the Church — will be locked out of the conclave. This is the surest way for Francis to promote his legacy for decades to come.

But Francis hasn’t stopped there. Oh no. He has extended his legacy-promoting plan by ridding the Vatican of other Benedict holdouts. In early July, Francis abruptly removed 69-year-old Gerhard Cardinal Müller as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Müller, whom Benedict appointed to the Church’s chief doctrinal post in 2012, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur that Pope Francis “did not give him a reason” for his dismissal, “just as he gave no reason for firing three highly competent members of the CDF a few months earlier” (July 19). Müller also told Allgemeine Zeitung that the Pope justified his dismissal by claiming that he “no longer intends to prolong roles in the Curia beyond five years,” and that Müller was the first one to whom this practice has been applied (July 10). It is instructive to note that Müller’s dismissal came on July 2, the exact expiration date of his five-year term, and that prior to that date, it had been customary for the head of the CDF to continue in his post until he resigned or reached the age of retirement, which is 75. Why the change for Cardinal Müller? Francis won’t say, but it bears mention that Müller, serving as the Vatican’s top doctrinal watchdog, has been critical of Amoris Laetitia, instead upholding the Church’s traditional teaching on Holy Communion and divorced-and-remarried Catholics. Further, he cannot have won brownie points with Francis by criticizing the Pope’s cult of personality and the accompanying “sanctimonious papolatry” he says is rampant within the Vatican. In a nutshell, it seems that Müller is too “dogmatic” for a Bergoglio Vatican. Francis prefers sycophants in his service.

Are we really supposed to believe that the Pope is going to oust every Vatican prelate at the end of his five-year term? The ever-reliable Vatican watcher Sandro Magister of Italy’s L’Espresso has noted (July 10) that Francis has kept in place other curial officials whose terms have expired. Msgr. Pio Pinto, for example, despite being 76 years old (one year past the mandatory retirement age) and at the end of his five-year term as dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, remains in his position. Pinto, charged by the Pope to revise the annulment process in the Church, is a well-known Francis supporter. And then there’s Argentine cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation of Oriental Churches, whose second five-year term has expired. He’s still there. Is he a big Francis supporter? Yep, you bet.

The list goes on! Most notably, February 15 of this year brought the end of the second five-year term of one of the Pope’s closest collaborators, 79-year-old Francesco Cardinal Coccopalmerio, president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. Coccopalmerio published a book earlier this year defending Amoris Laetitia and promoting unmarried, cohabiting couples receiving Holy Communion. (Cardinal Cupich wrote the foreword to the English-language edition of the book, by the way.) Of course, Coccopalmerio is still in his position, despite his age, despite his double-term expiration, and despite a bizarre drug-sex scandal involving his secretary, Luigi Capozzi. Msgr. Capozzi, a 49-year-old canonist, was arrested by Vatican police this spring after they caught him hosting a cocaine-fueled homosexual orgy in the former Palace of the Holy Office — a mere 500 yards away from Francis’s Santa Marta residence. Lord have mercy! Accounts by Italian news service Il Fato Quotidiano, which broke the story months after the fact, reported that Capozzi, whom it described as an “ardent supporter of Pope Francis,” was so high on cocaine when arrested that he had to be hospitalized for detoxification (June 28). Interestingly, Capozzi’s arrest came on the verge of his appointment as a bishop — on the recommendation of Cardinal Coccopalmerio, who, incidentally, made news in 2014 by emphasizing, in an interview with the Italian Catholic website Rossoporpora, the “positive realities” of homosexual relationships. No, the cardinal hasn’t yet shared his thoughts on the possible “positive realities” of cocaine use.

As of this writing, Capozzi remains Coccopalmerio’s secretary. Further, in follow-up accounts of the coked-up gay orgy, a senior member of the Curia told veteran Vatican correspondent Edward Pentin that homosexual activity among the clergy in Rome has “never been worse” (National Catholic Register, July 8). According to the NOR’s boots-on-the-ground sources in Rome, the Vatican is filled with an active gay subculture that is flourishing under Pope Francis. Why? It just so happens that those who are members of this subculture are the Pope’s most ardent ideological supporters, in a certain sense “friends of Francis.” No wonder he tends to look the other way. (Il Fato Quotidiano reported that Francis knew all about Capozzi’s orgy and arrest, months before the story broke in the news, but has remained silent about it.)

Francis is also hard at work undoing the great pro-life work begun by John Paul II. This May, Francis dismantled and reconstituted the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life. He dismissed those, appointed by John Paul and Benedict, who believe abortion is an intrinsic evil, in favor of new members who aren’t so sure. In at least one case, the Pope appointed a pro-abortion theologian who has expressed support for euthanasia in certain circumstances. Francis began his initiative last November when he released new statutes for the academy that summarily ended the terms of 116 of its 139 members (23 of them were re-appointed). The revised statutes no longer require Francis’s new appointees to sign a declaration that they uphold the Church’s pro-life teachings. Among the new appointees who won’t be signing that declaration is Nigel Biggar, a professor of moral and pastoral theology at the University of Oxford. Biggar has supported legal abortion up to 18 weeks and has expressed qualified support for euthanasia. And this man now represents the Vatican on life issues!

Founded by John Paul II in 1994, the academy is dedicated to promoting the Church’s consistent life ethic and carries out research in bioethics and Catholic moral theology. It has promoted and developed the Church’s teaching on medical ethics, including in-vitro fertilization, gene therapy, euthanasia, and abortion. Francis has now expanded the academy’s mandate to include a focus on the environment and street violence, giving Cardinal Bernardin’s “seamless garment” concept a further watering down.

For those wondering (1) why the Pope has summarily dismissed longtime, faithful, intelligent, and effective pro-life leaders around the world, and (2) why he wants to “refocus” the efforts of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the newly appointed head of the academy provides some insight. In an interview with Cruxnow.com (July 19), Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia — a close collaborator and ally of Pope Francis? but of course! — explained that the academy “now aims to be missionary in outlook…in collaboration with believers of other churches and faiths as well as non-believers.” The Pope’s new appointments include two Jews, a Muslim, an Anglican, and a number of those “non-believers.” Paglia went on to criticize the current Catholic pro-life movement, calling it ineffectual. “If I may say so,” he told Cruxnow.com, “there is a certain way of defending life that doesn’t defend it.”

And so, Francis is entrusting the pro-life mission to Archbishop Paglia, who presumes to know more about promoting the pro-life ethic (as redefined by Francis) than those dismissed from the academy, including philosopher Robert Spaemann of Germany, Maria Mercedes Arzú de Wilson of Guatemala, Christine de Marcellus Vollmer of Venezuela, Andrzej Szostek of Poland, Mieczyslaw Grzegocki of Ukraine, Jaroslav Sturma of the Czech Republic, and Etienne Kaboré of Burkina Faso, whom Sandro Magister describes as “perfectly in line with the positions of the African Church on marriage, family, and sexuality, seen at work during the last two synods” (L’Espresso, March 13). These are just some of the dismissed members, but the list illustrates how geographically diversified the former members of the academy were. What all the dismissed members have in common is that they ardently believe in the teachings of the Church on critical life issues. What many of the dismissed members have in common, according to Magister, is that “they have distinguished themselves in publicly criticizing the new moral and practical paradigms that have entered into vogue with the pontificate of Francis.”

Have you noticed a pattern yet?

Interesting, isn’t it? Pope Francis has consistently removed those who dare to try to “dialogue” with him or who publicly criticize his initiatives, his offhand utterances, his publications, or his “moral and practical paradigms.” If you’re tempted to draw parallels between Francis’s managerial playbook and that of your run-of-the-mill 20th-century communist dictator, you wouldn’t be alone. Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan made the same comparison, likening the Bergoglio Vatican to the Soviet “regime” under which he was born, where those who didn’t “follow the line of the party” weren’t allowed a voice (LifeSiteNews.com, Dec. 6, 2016).

Certainly, in any institution, a case can be made for removing those in positions of authority who seek to undermine that institution through public words and actions. But it is important to note that, by and large, those who are being “silenced” in the Church of Francis are those who have consistently upheld and defended what the Church has always taught, not those liberal Catholics who have made a career of undermining those teachings in a very public manner.

One last point about personnel, and this one is arguably the most troubling of Pope Francis’s pontifical trajectories. One would think that, given the Pope’s penchant for naming cardinals throughout the world — even in traditionally non-Christian countries — he would readily accept the advice of Joseph Cardinal Zen when it comes to the Church in China. Zen was China’s first cardinal and a key adviser to Pope Benedict regarding China-Vatican détente. But now it seems that Francis is ignoring the longtime advocate of religious liberty in communist China. Back in 2014 Cardinal Zen warned Francis not to visit China, cautioning that he would be manipulated by the government, which controls the “officially recognized” church on the mainland and persecutes the Chinese Catholics who make up the Vatican-aligned “underground” Church. The government-sanctioned church includes illegitimate bishops, three of whom have been excommunicated by the real Church. Nevertheless, Pope Francis disregarded Cardinal Zen’s warning. In an interview with Spanish daily El País, the Pope stated in a very dramatic manner that he would like to go to China, and that he awaits his invitation. “In China, the churches are packed,” he said. “In China they can worship freely” (Jan. 24).

Cardinal Zen knows there’s no truth to the Pope’s statement. The Catholic Church in China — the real Church — remains small and persecuted. In 2016 alone, five “underground” bishops from mainland China who had served time in prison or labor camps died either in prison or from health complications arising from their confinement. In 2016 the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom recommended that China be designated a “country of particular concern,” meaning it is one of the world’s worst violators when it comes to respecting the right to religious liberty. Are we to believe that Francis, the alleged Pope of the peripheries, is unaware of the realities in China, given the advice from Cardinal Zen and the widely available reports issued by international agencies?

In response to the Pope’s inaccuracies, Cardinal Zen said he feared that the Vatican, in its desperation to make a deal with China, would sell out the long-persecuted underground Church, the only legitimate Catholic presence in the communist country. The situation regarding religious liberty in China, Zen has said, is worse today than ever.

And now Pope Francis’s Vatican has indeed made an agreement with the Chinese government. Although Benedict stated that China has no legitimate Catholic bishops’ conference, the Holy See under Francis has given the initiative of choosing bishops to the so-called Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. This agreement amounts to giving an atheistic government the power to choose bishops for its state-sponsored church.

Cardinal Zen has repeated Benedict’s insistence that no legitimate bishops’ conference exists in mainland China. “The whole thing is fake,” he explained in an interview with the Polish outlet Polonia Christiana (July 14). “I really cannot believe that the Holy See doesn’t know that there is no bishops’ conference! There is only a name. They never really have a discussion, meetings. They meet when they are called by the government. The government gives instructions. They obey.” Francis’s Vatican, continued Zen, is “too eager to dialogue, dialogue so they tell everybody not to make noise, to accommodate, to compromise, to obey the government. Now things are going down, down.”

Clearly, Francis has his own ideas, regardless of what Pope Benedict might have said and despite Cardinal Zen’s warnings and the reports of violations of human rights and religious liberty from the international community. Pope Francis will plow determinedly ahead, with his sycophants at his side, just as he has done vis-à-vis his detractors in the hierarchy, even while preaching mercy, mercy, mercy and dialogue, dialogue, dialogue. But where exactly is the mercy for those with whom he disagrees? Where is the dialogue?

To recap: Pope Francis is making deals with the state-sponsored church in communist China, diluting the Church’s pro-life ministry, sidelining his critics in the hierarchy, and looking the other way when it comes to homosexual activity that takes place right under his nose (when those involved happen to be his ardent supporters). He has consistently demonstrated that he rejects orthodox Catholicism, a Catholicism that recognizes and respects the legitimate structures and devotional life of the Church — e.g., the parish, the priesthood, religious life, the liturgy properly celebrated, traditional devotions and devotionals, a faith life built on prayer, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and so on.

A recent article in L’Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper and often considered a “mouthpiece” of the papacy, illustrates well Francis’s attitude. The article, penned by Giulio Cirignano, an Italian Scripture scholar, asserts that the “main obstacle” to implementing Pope Francis’s vision for the Church is “closure, if not hostility” from bishops and priests. Fr. Cirignano believes that the laity understands and supports Francis’s vision, but those pesky bishops and priests keep getting in the way. Fr. Cirignano charges that “seriously conservative” and “dogmatic” clergymen are unfit for a 21st-century Church. He says, for example, that they hold to an “antiquated image of the priesthood,” one that sees the priest as the “boss” or a “sort of solitary protagonist”; that they are relatively uneducated, their “theological and Biblical preparation is often scarce”; and — wait for it — these “seriously conservative” priests and bishops subscribe to a kind of counterreformation theology that is “lacking the resources of the Word,” is “without a soul,” and has “transformed the impassioned and mysterious adventure of believing into religion,” resulting in a “limpid faith.” Yow!

It’s actually reassuring, assuming Fr. Cirignano is correct, to know that bishops and priests present the greatest obstacle to the implementation of Pope Francis’s program. Further, Fr. Cirignano has unwittingly revealed that the Pope just might be the one who considers himself a “sort of solitary protagonist,” that he is unwilling or unable to be collaborative, to listen to other authentic voices in the Catholic Church.

But we’ll give Francis this: His perseverance in reversing so many of the great strides made during the pontificates of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI is impressive. For Francis, his pontificate has become about his geopolitical agenda, his scattershot efforts at “reform,” the installation of his comrades in high places, and the exercise of his own personal power. The aim of his pontificate seems to be to remake the Church in the idiosyncrasies of Jesuit-trained Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, son of an Italian communist. As Cardinal Zen said, “Now things are going down, down.” Perhaps that’s exactly Pope Francis’s intent. The question is: How much further will things descend?

“Birds of a Feather Flock Together” (part 2)

brought to you by Allan Gillis – published in LifeSite News:

(back when we started this project, I remember a friend asked me why we would call this blog what we did – and I pledged then that I would bring proof that Mother Church is indeed; in crisis!)

(have your barf-bag ready!)

High-ranking priest caught in cocaine-fueled gay orgy in Vatican apartment

July 6 2017

A high-ranking Vatican monsignor who is a secretary to one of Pope Francis’ closest collaborators was arrested by Vatican police after they caught him hosting a cocaine-fueled homosexual orgy in a building right next to St. Peter’s Basilica.

Monsignor Luigi Capozzi, 49, was caught by Vatican gendarmerie in a raid some two months ago that took place in the former Palace of the Holy Office.

While the top Vatican officials have been mute about the raid, Italian media broke the story last week after receiving inside information.

Vatican police allegedly caught the monsignor, whom Italian media called an “ardent supporter of Pope Francis,” after tenants in the building complained repeatedly about constant comings and goings of visitors to the building during all hours of the night. The building is currently being used by various high-ranking churchmen, including prefects, presidents, and secretaries to the Roman Curia.

Capozzi, who on his LinkedIn page calls himself an “expert in canon law and dogmatic theology,” managed to evade suspicion from Italian police by using a BMW luxury car with license plates of the Holy See, which made him practically immune to stops and searches. This privilege, usually reserved for high-ranking prelates, allowed the monsignor to transport cocaine for his frequent homosexual orgies without being stopped by the Italian police.

Italian news service Il Fato Quotidiano wrote that the building’s separate entrance into Vatican City from outside the Vatican walls made it “perfect” for clandestine activity.

“Its main entrance, in fact, opens out directly onto the piazza of the Holy Office that is already Italian territory and is outside of the control of the Swiss Guard and of the Gendarmerie. Anyone, by day and by night, can freely enter into the Vatican by this entry without undergoing any inspection and without, of course, being put on record. A perfect location to enjoy the privileges of extraterritoriality but without having to be subject either to the inspections of the Italian State or to those of Vatican City,” the news service wrote.

At the time of the arrest, Capozzi was allegedly so high on cocaine that he was hospitalized for detoxification for a short period in the Pius XI clinic in Rome. He is currently in an undisclosed convent in Italy undergoing a spiritual retreat, Italian media reported.

“One thinks one is dreaming: in the most deplorable of ways, the Rome of today seems to have fallen lower than the Rome of the Borgias,” reported Riposte Catholique.

 

Msgr. Luigi Capozzi (far left) with Card. Coccopalmerio (far right) in an October, 2011 photo.

Capozzi’s arrest comes on the verge of him being appointed a bishop on the recommendation of his superior Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, the Vatican’s top canonical official.

Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts, is one of Pope Francis’ closest collaborators and ardent supporters.

Earlier this year, the Vatican’s own publishing house released a book by the Cardinal with much fanfare that defended Francis’s 2016 Exhortation Amoris Laetitia as allowing civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics living in adultery as well as unmarried cohabiting Catholics living in fornication to receive Holy Communion. Coccopalmerio maintained that the book was his own personal reflection on the matter and carried no legislative weight.

The Cardinal later defended his interpretation of Amoris, even though it contradicted perennial Catholic teaching, stating that what he wrote was no different from conversations he had had with the Pope on the subject.

“I spoke with the Pope at other times about these questions, and we always thought the same,” he said.

Coccopalmerio’s book was later praised by U.S. Cardinal Blase Cupich, who, in a foreword to the English edition of the book, said that it “fully complies with traditional Church teaching on marriage but is also in conformity with accepted standards of a pastoral approach that is positive and constructive.”

The fact that it was Coccopalmerio’s trusted secretary who was behind the orgies makes the Cardinal’s past declarations on the “positive elements” of gay couples take on pressing significance.

In a 2014 interview with Rossoporpora, the Cardinal said that while homosexual relationships are deemed “illicit” by the Church, Catholic leaders, such as himself, must “emphasize” the “positive realities” that he said are present in homosexual relationships.

“If I meet a homosexual couple, I notice immediately that their relationship is illicit: the doctrine says this, which I reaffirm with absolute certainty. However, if I stop at the doctrine, I don’t look anymore at the persons. But if I see that the two persons truly love each other, do acts of charity to those in need, for example … then I can also say that, although the relationship remains illicit, positive elements also emerge in the two persons. Instead of closing our eyes to such positive realities, I emphasize them. It is to be objective and objectively recognize the positive of a certain relationship, of itself illicit,” he said at that time.

When the interviewer noted that some attendees at the Synod on the Family were tending in such a direction towards homosexuals, Coccopalmerio agreed. He then immediately went on to criticize those who feared that “valuing the positive elements” of homosexual relationships would be “undermining” the Church’s doctrine on marriage and sexuality, saying such a conclusion was “problematic.”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan highlighted in a talk given in Washinton D.C. last October the moral principle that “heresy” always goes hand-in-hand with an “unchaste life.” Where there is heresy, there is also sexual immorality, he said.

 

As of July 4, 2017, Capozzi is still listed as a staff member on the website of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts. (click to enlarge)

Michael Hichborn, president of the U.S.-based Lepanto Institute, said he highly suspects Coccopalmerio knew of the orgies.

“Given the monitoring and whispering that goes on in the Vatican, it is unlikely to the point of absurdity that Cardinal Coccopalmerio was unaware of Msgr. Capozzi’s disgusting activities. In fact, when we consider the 300-page document on the homosexual lobby that was handed to Pope Benedict XVI just before he resigned, the probability is that many who work in the Vatican were fully aware of what Capozzi was doing, and that such activities are taking place among other clergy as well,” he added.

The 79-year-old Cardinal is well beyond the age of retirement, set at 75. Despite this, Pope Francis has kept him at his post. This fact becomes all the more interesting given Pope Francis’ recent removal of the 69-year-old Cardinal Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, from his post last week. Muller, unlike Coccopalmerio, has taken an orthodox stand from the beginning of Francis’ pontificate, opposing a liberal interpretation of Amoris Laetitia favored by Francis-supporters.

LifeSiteNews reached out to the Holy See Press Office for comment on a homosexual orgy happening inside a Vatican building by a high-ranking prelate, but received no reply.

Hichborn said that the homosexual orgy happening right next to St. Peter’s reveals a “mass apostasy” that is currently happening within the Catholic Church at the highest levels.

“The Vatican is now ground zero for a mass apostasy that is happening right now within the Catholic Church,” he told LifeSiteNews.

It is interesting to note that despite Capozzi’s arrest months ago, he is still listed as an active staff member on the website of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts.

Hichborn said that the Church’s enemies are now trying to destroy her from within.

“We know for a fact that Communists and homosexuals were specifically recruited as far back as the 1920’s to infiltrate seminaries. It was a concerted effort to destroy the Church from within. What we are seeing is the culmination of nearly 100 years worth of this effort playing itself out,” he said.

Hichborn said that faithful Catholics must not abandon their Mother, the Church, in the face of such evil.

“In times such as these, many will be deeply scandalized and tempted to leave the Church. But it is imperative for Catholics to remember that Holy Mother Church is completely blameless, despite the terrible things done by men who represent Her. What Capozzi was caught doing is absolutely vile, but his crime was as much against the Church he claims to serve as it was against the faithful who are affected by his actions,” he said.

“But if we remember that our Faith had its beginnings in the Death of Our Lord, then we can look forward to the Glory which follows the Passion of His Mystical Bride, Holy Mother Church,” he added.


If I Had A Hammer…

I’d cave some liturgical music reformer’s skulls in!    There!  I said it.

Father John Zuhlsdorf brought this article from CRISIS to our attention:

Abandoning Latin Changed Liturgical Music … for the Worse

After 35 years as a liturgical musician, it’s amazing how little I really know about the liturgical music of the Roman Rite.

Then again, what should I expect when my earliest memories of music at Mass tend to involve now-forgotten attempts to make Ray Repp tunes, guitar-group versions of Beatles songs, social-justice-pop-folk songs, and patently juvenile compositions like “Sons of God” and “Here We Are” seem at home in the most august Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

When it comes to the “hermeneutic of discontinuity,” I lived the experience. Yet, despite the poverty of my personal liturgical roots, I’m convinced that things aren’t really as bad as some people today might think, in terms of the pre-Vatican II vs. post-Vatican II liturgical-music landscapes.

No. They’re actually worse.

Why? Because the narrative is not really as simple as saying “we really had our liturgical-music act together before the Council, and after the Council everything collapsed.”

Rather, the more historically accurate narrative sounds like: “we really had only taken the first few baby-steps toward getting our liturgical-music act together in the decades before the Council, and then after the Council everything collapsed.”

It might be fairer to say that after the Council everything certainly changed, if not collapsed. Or at least that one specific change caused one particular collapse. I’m referring to the seismic shift in liturgical music that arose from the largely unrestrained embrace of the “vernacular” in the liturgy.

Chant’s Second Chance
A little context is in order before addressing the “vernacular” issue more directly.

A century ago, Pope St. Pius X took on the reform of liturgical music in a big way. Late nineteenth-century liturgical music had largely pushed Gregorian chant aside, and the patrimony of the Roman Rite’s most distinctive musical form was in danger of fading away. His 1903 motu proprio on sacred music “Tra Le Sollecitudini” sought to reclaim chant and minimize the damage that had been done by the “theatrical” or “concert” music that had made its way into liturgy via composers of secular classical music who also wrote beautiful performance works with religious content—Masses, oratorios, and the like—that were never appropriate for liturgy but had infiltrated it nonetheless.

The long-term project was to rediscover and reclaim the authentic root of chant, which had become covered in the overgrowth of centuries of adaptation and neglect. Thankfully, this pursuit was undertaken wholeheartedly by several key groups, and real progress was being made in allowing the Roman Rite to, once again, rely on its distinctive musical form in twentieth-century liturgy.

However, this all-important step was really only tenuously connected to another all-important question related to liturgical music: how might the recovery of chant impact the existing state of congregational singing at Mass?

Some Assembly Required
To my surprise, I’ve only recently come to learn that the Roman Rite has had a bit of an on-again/off-again relationship with the whole notion of liturgical singing done by anyone other than the clergy (remember, pre-Vatican II “clergy” included those in minor orders) or established choirs of the day. The people in the pews were not at all central to the notion of “liturgical” music, any more than they were at all central to providing the liturgical responses at Low Mass or High Mass (“Sung” or “Solemn”).

Yet the twentieth-century Magisterium did come down in favor of giving formation to the faithful such that they could at least minimally learn and participate in the chant that was being rediscovered. Granted, congregational singing of vernacular hymns was happening, but this was seen as distinct from the ceremonial-liturgical music that existed exclusively in Latin, not the vernacular.

Indeed, the real irony was that it was quite typically only in Masses that were not sung by the priest—that is, the completely unsung, recited Low Mass—that the more congregation-friendly vernacular hymns were permitted for use, as long as the unsung, recited Latin liturgical texts were delivered intact by server, choir, or even congregation. High Mass—necessarily sung by the priest and other “sacred ministers” (deacon, subdeacon) employing Gregorian chant, required chanted responses and prohibited any singing in the vernacular.

Precisely because everyone else in the liturgy besides the assembly—minor clergy, servers, choirs—had been trained to provide not only the sung chant but also all the appropriate Latin spoken responses, the people in the pews remained largely unexposed to the kind of education in chant envisioned in the first decades of the twentieth century.

Not only that, but it’s worth wondering—how many priests of that time were themselves well-trained to sing the Mass—that is, celebrate High Mass with all priestly parts necessitating expertise in Gregorian chant? I’m sure some could, and I hope many did, but I can’t help but imagine that recited Low Masses were much more prevalent in the average parishes, meaning that congregations were really focused not on the distinctive music of the Roman Rite, but really on hymns in the vernacular, if they did any singing at Mass at all. The patrimony of “real” liturgical music—that is, chant and polyphony in Latin—still rested largely in the hands and voices of clergy, choirs, and servers.

Mass Movement—From “Hearing” to “Praying”
Fast-forward to the era immediately preceding the Second Vatican Council, with the “Liturgical Movement” of that time focusing on getting people to move past the realm of “hearing” Mass amid favored private devotions prayed during it toward “praying the Mass” by at least following along with personal missals in the vernacular that could help a Catholic understand the spoken Latin. However, the reform of the liturgy took a turn headlong in the direction of accessibility—despite the Council’s insistence, in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, that “The use of Latin is to be preserved in the Latin rites” (36), and that Gregorian Chant “should be given pride of place in liturgical services” (116).

If any single thing could essentially derail the century-long project of reclaiming the Roman Rite’s chant and finally getting it into the pews, the unrestrained plunge into the vernacular could, and did, in my view. It’s pretty simple. If priest and assembly are no longer bound by a requirement to learn and use Latin in liturgy, and if liberation from Latin takes the shape of a tsunami throughout the Church, from priest to pewsitter, access to the patrimony of Latin-text music—both chant and polyphony—becomes utterly short-circuited.

Furthermore, that huge, whooshing, sucking sound we all heard by the mid-1960s was the immense vacuum created by the absence of any music in the vernacular that could really fill the void created by severing the connection to both the Church’s universal language and its universal music. It was also, in my view, the death rattle for the ambitious decades-long effort to restore and reconnect not only clergy and choirs but congregations to Gregorian chant.

Now, I’m sure there were exceptions found in many places—people in the pew who really did “get” the liturgy and its music in Latin. Perhaps some parishes sought to preserve the precious steps taken before the Council to give chant real pride of place even in the congregation’s singing. Even so, history seems clear—the swift and monumental movement from Latin to vernacular (in the US, to English) set the stage for a pretty immediate need for vernacular liturgical music—and a vernacular chant was just not waiting in the wings during this time. Not only that, but the existing vernacular Catholic hymns were never intended to do the work of Latin liturgical music, and were largely themed toward devotions rather than Mass.

“Attention, All Personnel….!!”
Thus, the Church in the US was treated to the musical “M*A*S*H” unit that was first to arrive on the scene, offering not “meatball surgery” but offering “meatball liturgy.” And it wasn’t very life-saving—at all. As the Mass hemorrhaged its Latin, the wound, scarcely cleaned, received the Bandaid of the banal texts and melodies that at least initially came largely from the pop-folk era previously inaugurated by the 1957-1958 Kingston Trio smash hit “Tom Dooley.” By the mid-1960s, the exuberant and carefree folk revival had given way to protest music and politics, and that volatile mix of elements gave us that visceral novelty of “now” liturgical music (so called) in the vernacular—guitars and even banjos mercilessly subjecting the faithful to everything from “Sounds of Silence” to “Let It Be” to Catholic “youth” music like “Wake Up, My People,” “Till All My People Are One,” “Allelu,” “To Be Alive,” and “Joy Is Like the Rain.”

Now, fifty years later, the discontinuity does indeed seem staggering. It leaves liturgical music in a sort of limbo. The legitimacy of the pre-conciliar effort to restore chant must be reconnected with the legitimacy of the post-conciliar openness to organically growing new liturgical music from that root.

How much different would things have been if there had been real continuity? Well, I’m pretty sure a young believer like me, destined to be a liturgical musician for more than 30 years, would have benefitted greatly from hearing way more Latin, more chant, more Latin polyphony—anything that would have made it clear to me that these are truly the hallmarks of our Roman-Rite tradition. In my view, it’s not merely a missed opportunity for the Mass itself, but it’s a missed opportunity for me as a Catholic.

Mass is not supposed to make me musically comfortable—it’s supposed to make me more holy.

Some may say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but I’m here to tell you: singing “If I Had a Hammer,” “Get Together,” and “Day by Day” at Mass never, not once, made me feel stronger—or holier. Let’s reclaim our rightful patrimony and try to rediscover—yet again—the liturgical music roots of the Roman Rite.

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Well-said Mr. Russell!  “He who sings; prays twice – especially Latin Chant”!   Ok, well maybe St. Augustine (this saying might be attributed to St. Gregory) didn’t mention the Latin Chant part…   but, then again, he wouldn’t have had to!   All I know is – that the music at most Novus Ordo masses makes my teeth hurt!

-Allan Gillis